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Beliefs on child birth, labor and delivery process, often affect the outcome of the process and how the woman may anticipate the delivery or remember it for years to come.
Belief systems will often impact much of our daily lives without even knowing it. What we believe and why can make an impact on the decisions we make, the medical care we seek and how we relate to the people around us.
In a study that was published in Birth September 2001 researchers found that perceptions about the birth process in college students was based on misinformation and poor awareness of the process.
The doctors theorized that teaching students in high school about childbirth practices and procedures would decrease their anxiety and increase the feelings of control that women have over the experience.
Beliefs on child birth will vary from culture to culture. Its important for the practitioner to be aware of the beliefs and practices of a family or culture before the woman enters into the labor and delivery process. Knowledge about those beliefs and incorporation of them into the process will help the woman to experience labor and delivery with less anxiety and concern thus making for a more positive experience.
For instance in the Chinese culture the spouse is not usually present during the delivery but it is the role of the father to give the baby its first bath. During a mothers first delivery the mother of the expectant mother is present but in subsequent births the mother is expected to do it alone.
Other special considerations when going through the labor and delivery process with a woman of Chinese descent is that during labor crying out is believed to attract evil spirits to the baby and that squatting is the ideal position for birth. The belief is that by lying down the baby has no energy to come out. Just prior to cutting the umbilical cord a necklace must be placed around the babys neck to tie the babys life to the necklace and not the cord.
In the postpartum time period the woman will stay in doors for at least 30 days. This period is called the sitting period and can actually last for up to 3 months. Because of the blood lost during the birth this is considered a cold condition and hot foods are required to rebuild the body. These foods should include hot water, tea, ginger, pigs feet and high protein meals. The woman should avoid cold conditions such as air conditioning, showering, washing hair or open windows and drafts.
In the US the history of Midwifery speaks to the beliefs on child birth that woman have held. In Colonial America only women attended to women and because of the better food and conditions their were better outcomes in America than there were in England.
During the period between 1750 and 1850 the development of hospitals came into their own. There were two types of hospitals voluntary and public. During this time period the first medical schools were developed.
Jump forward to the late 1800s and families were less self-sufficient and scientific discovery led to an increased public acceptance of medicine. This began the turn of events that brought women from relying on other women for labor, delivery and medical care to a large acceptance of more modern medical practices.
Still by 1900 less than 5% of women gave birth in hospitals. After this period though more woman were attracted to giving birth at hospitals because they could offer a painless birth that wasnt available at home.
By 1935 37% of births happened at hospitals but the birth injury rate jumped from 40% to 50% because women either didnt receive prenatal care of excessive intervention took place during birth.
The growth of medicine progressed to the place where women grew to believe that all births should happen in the hospital, birth can and should be painless and breast feeding lost its rightful place as the best nutrition for the baby when bottles and formula introduced a new found convenience.
The beliefs on child birth that were once held were now being challenged by feminists, advances in medicine and societal pressure. Each woman was encouraged to develop her own system and beliefs as long as they didnt interfere with the health and well-being of the child.
In a study published about the beliefs on child birth in Thailand found that women in the Thai culture had beliefs that aimed to preserve the life and well-being of the new mother and baby. Womens social backgrounds were an influence in the beliefs and practices much like it is anywhere in the world.
Understanding that there are different beliefs on child birth in different cultures and that there are many different cultures who reside side by side in countries who welcome immigration will help physicians, hospitals, nurses and practitioners to recognize the different factors that will help prevent misunderstandings and encourage a positive birth experience for all women.
During both the conception process and throughout pregnancy it is important that hopeful moms maintain their physical well-being and as well as their psychological health.
This broad field of women’s health includes psychological issues surrounding mood, stress and relaxation, as well as physical areas such as infertility, nutrition, morning sickness, labor and delivery and more.
At Native Remedies you will find a comprehensive set of herbal remedies to help you manage conception, pregnancy and childbirth – naturally and safely.